Just over a year ago, I wrote about how the new WorldCat.org expands the impact of libraries everywhere. I went on to say (with no hesitation) that the redesign and rebuild had been the highlight of my career. Well, I’ve changed my mind.
Over the past year, we’ve seen how well the site helps people find the information they need in libraries. There’s encouraging data about improved reach, utility, and accessibility. But most of all, we view the launch of the redesigned site not as a “job completed,” but as inspiration to do even more.
So, what’s the new highlight of my career? The ability of WorldCat.org to serve as an ongoing, growing, centralized platform for library discovery.
Linked data—it’s already part of WorldCat.org
I recently heard some misunderstandings about what libraries need to do to transform their cataloging metadata into linked data for discovery on the open web. The truth is simple. If you catalog with us and have a web visibility subscription, your records are already published to WorldCat.org as a type of linked data called Schema.org.
This linked data is what helps make your records discoverable by search engines. It’s not “something extra” you need to turn on, it doesn’t require an additional procedure, and it doesn’t cost more. And it’s one simple way OCLC is helping to make library linked data usable and consumable by commercial vendors and other organizations both inside and outside the library profession.
So, if you catalog with us and have a web visibility subscription, your records are automatically shared on the open web, attracting more users to your resources. And new visibility options for cataloging subscribers and small libraries have also made it possible for more libraries to participate.
There’s a library app for that
Did you know there’s a companion mobile app for WorldCat.org? WorldCat Find is available in the United States on the Apple Store and Google Play. And while the WorldCat.org interface is optimized for mobile, we know from user studies that many people prefer apps.
Both interfaces include a new feature currently in beta—book recommendations generated by artificial intelligence. While the experience is a little different, the core features are the same on the website and in the app. Essentially, it uses AI to generate recommendations based on readers’ favorite subjects, authors, and titles. No personal information is exchanged through the API with our app partner.
Compelling library content and promotion
WorldCat.org excels at providing information about specific items and authors, although most people start their searches based on topics. To help drive more interest and engagement to library resources, we’ve created topic pages that include lists from subject matter experts and library workers. In fact, we collaborated with many organizations and libraries to create specific lists including: The National Women’s History Alliance, The National Audubon Society, the Culinary Institute of America, and the University of California Los Angeles.
As part of the launch of the new site earlier this year, we introduced a promotional campaign in the United States designed to help connect millions of people to libraries—and the results are exciting. More than 17 million people potentially saw an ad while scrolling on social media and an additional 4.6 million while searching Google.
The ads encouraged people to visit WorldCat.org in order to explore many libraries all in one search. And to broaden the reach of these efforts, we invested in consumer-focused social media accounts on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, and X (formerly Twitter). In just the last year, more than 500 posts have generated:
- 3 million+ impressions
- 80,000+ engagements
- 7,765 new followers
When we share our enthusiasm about WorldCat.org and the libraries it represents, people all over the world get excited. They remember to include libraries in their information searches. And they connect with local libraries and ones far away.
The best of both world(cat)s
Between technology updates, the new app, engagement in various ways, and the expansion of our web visibility program and other partnerships, I’m so proud of what we’ve accomplished on behalf of libraries. And I’m thrilled that all of you can continue to increase that impact.
So, if you haven’t taken a look at WorldCat.org recently, please do. Create a list highlighting a unique collection at your library or an area of expertise. Update your library’s profile. And please share WorldCat.org links to records when you recommend books. It may feel like a small thing, but it’s so much more. When we all amplify the combined collections of libraries around the world, our collective reach is boundless.
To maximize your library’s exposure and impact, it’s essential to meet today’s users where they usually look for information. OCLC’s web visibility program makes it easier for libraries to connect with information seekers online. See subscription options.